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February 2016

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Page 13 of 51 12 POST FEBRUARY 2016 FILMMAKING ilmmaker Christian Ditter is a Munich-based writer and director who last year directed his first English- language film, the romantic comedy, Love, Rosie that opened internation- ally in October 2014 and in the US in February 2015. But this month, the director makes his US/Hollywood debut with the Warner Bros. film, How To Be Single, starring Dakota Johnson, Rebel Wilson and Leslie Mann. Overseas, the director is known for his short films, which won numerous awards at international film festivals, including his debut feature French For Beginners and later, his big-screen adaptations of Germany's beloved children's books, The Crocodiles series. He also wrote and directed Germany's first major adventure film shot entirely in 3D — Wickie And The Treasure Of The Gods. Now, with Single, which was shot en- tirely on-location throughout New York City and on a soundstage in Queens, Ditter says, "We wanted the film to really feel like New York." Speaking exclusively with Post from Burbank, CA, Ditter discusses his newest offering and the post process. Why did you want to make this film? "I read the script after I did Rosie, and it was very special to me. It made me laugh out loud but also touched my emotional strings in a very honest, heartfelt and real way. It reminded me of the classic comedies I always loved, like The Apartment and When Harry Met Sally. Even Ghostbusters had this perfect mix of the right amount of really funny stuff with some true to the heart core to them and that's what sprang at me when I read the script and what really captured me in that way, so that's what got me interested." Are there any unique challenges to directing a comedy over other types of films? "You know, the template back in Germany was more adventure-type movies, and some of them for kids. They all had heavy moments in them, but they were all on the light side. So I do feel comfortable with comedic scenes, but this is the first full-out comedy I'm doing, and so this was of course a chal- lenge for me. But I figured, me, as a guy from Germany, if I find it funny on-set, everyone else will be rolling on the floor (laughs)." What cameras did you shoot with and why? "We used Arri Alexa most of the time, and we used the Alexa 65 for one scene, which is awesome. I totally want to shoot on that for now on. In Germany, I always shot on 35mm. When I did the 3D film, I shot digitally, but I like film better. But for this particular film, How To Be Single, I wanted to have the ability to keep the camera rolling a long time; to do improvs or alternate takes of jokes and gather a lot of material to have a treasure chest for later for editing, so the Alexa was the right choice. I also did a lot of testing back in Munich, which is where Arri is, so we did a lot of back-to- back comparisons of 35 with Alexa, and we found quite a good curve that emu- lates the film look very well on the Alexa and in post, and on the eye not steering too far away from the film curve — make it look and feel pretty much as film would feel. It was the best choice for that movie." How closely did you work with DP Christian Rein? "I met Christian when I was in film school, so I already worked with him on my short films and all feature films I directed in Germany, so we go a long way together. I tend to stand next to the camera and not behind the monitor, just to be close to the actors and be able to talk to them and look them into the eyes as they are acting. And so, we basically stand very close to each other on the set. We always had an extensive preparation where we go though the script, scene by scene, but the most useful thing about the prep time is that we get on the same page about what the scene is about so that later when surprises come around the corner on-set, and they do, if you have actors like Rebel Wilson, who have ideas (laughs), then you can stay flexible because you develop the whole pace of the visual approach together." How would you describe the look or feel of the film? "We set out to make a classy comedy for grown ups, so story wise, we wanted it to be funny, but with heartfelt moments. The thing is, comedy often times focuses solely on the comedy, but I think today's CHRISTIAN DITTER: HOW TO BE SINGLE F THE MUNICH- BASED DIRECTOR COMES TO AMERICA Star Rebel Wilson's improv offered Ditter lots of scene options. BY LINDA ROMANELLO

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